“I’m glad folks think I look different,” the 45-year-old Academy Award winner told People after she became a trending topic on Twitter, some blogs deemed her “unrecognizable,” and there was speculation that she underwent plastic surgery. “I’m living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I’m thrilled that perhaps it shows.”
The Katy, Texas, native, who picked up an Oscar for 2004’s Cold Mountain, says that her new look is due to her new life. Her last movie to hit the big screen was 2010’s My Own Love Song. But she’s been enjoying life and love, dating guitarist and producer Doyle Von Frankenstein since 2012.
“My friends say that I look peaceful. I am healthy,” the Bridget Jones’s Diary star said. “For a long time I wasn’t doing such a good job with that. I took on a schedule that is not realistically sustainable and didn’t allow for taking care of myself. Rather than stopping to recalibrate, I kept running until I was depleted and made bad choices about how to conceal the exhaustion. I was aware of the chaos and finally chose different things.”
Now, she’s making better choices, saying, “I did work that allows for being still, making a home, loving someone, learning new things, growing as a creative person and finally growing into myself.”
Zellweger, who was recently arrested for attacking and eating a stray dog in Central Park, was seen last Friday at a benefit to raise money for the debilitating effects of skin wrinkles on the careers of aging actresses. Her Grim Reaper cover band “See You In Rock You To (All) Hell Let Loose” will be touring the Europe in the Spring.
“People don’t know me in my 40s,” said Zellweger. “People don’t know the new healthy me. Perhaps I look different. Who doesn’t as they get older?! Ha. But I am different. I’m happy.”
The greatest band in the known universe is going on tour. Again. After Iron Maiden concludes their highly awaited “Numbing of The Beast 2014 Tour” they plan to go back out on the road and play the worst songs from their nearly 35-year catalogue. According to singer Bruce Dickinson, “Iron Maiden has always been on the cutting edge of heavy metal. What is more cutting edge then making people pay 115 dollars to see a bunch of songs that they can’t stand?!?”
Maiden plans to dust off some of the most cringe inducing songs from their catalog including Weekend Warrior, Holy Smoke, Chains of Misery, 2 AM, The Apparition and Blood On The World’s Hands. They plan to open with Hooks in You, a song so bad that it has been linked to the self-immolation of 12 Tibetan monks over the past 5 years.
In the hopes to incite the audience into riot-like fits of rage they plan on playing Sheriff of Huddersfield, Roll Over Vic Vella and Nodding Donkey Blues, three b-sides they have never bothered to play live before. They plan on closing the set with Bring Your Daughter…To The Slaughter, the song that won them the Razzie for Worst Song from a Movie in 1989 (from A Nightmare on Elm Street: Part 5).
In keeping with their more “progressive” recent style of song writing, they plan to keep every song to a minimum of eight minutes long. Instead of adding intricate soloing or creating a novel new arrangement, they will simply repeat the same chorus over and over for five additional minutes per song. If the audience has not ingested full vats of cyanide laced Kool-Aid by the middle of the show, the 19-minute a cappella version of The Angel and The Gambler should push them over the edge.
What could possibly top that setlist? How about an encore where they play the entire Final Frontier album. Twice. Along with a 12-minute Bruce Dickinson monologue about the joys of flying backed by Janick Gers playing harmonica. It will be a night few will soon forget.
The band plans on releasing a Least of The Beast album featuring their worst songs in tandem with the tour. They also will be releasing six new DVDs in the next year, including Bus 666 disc detailing the bands trip through Central Florida on a Greyhound Bus back in 1981 and Meal 666, where the audience can have the rare treat of watching Bruce Dickinson eat a steak dinner. Nap 666, featuring Dave Murray sleeping for two hours, is scheduled for release in 2017.
Heavy metal legend Glenn Danzig is currently working on an album of covers of classic Elvis Presley songs. Danzig, who is referred to by many as Black Elvis both for his dark, Elvis-like voice and his love of New York City Hip Hop icon “Kool Keith” Thornton, has been planning to do an album in homage to the King of Rock and Roll for many years. In 2015, the album will become a reality.
Danzig, who began his singing career at age 12 as an Elvis out front of a Shoprite supermarket in Lodi, New Jersey, has modeled much of his look, attitude and trademark lip curl after Elvis. He even considered wearing a tight-fitting sequin jumpsuit during a concert in Toledo, Ohio in 1993 in tribute to his idol, but was forced to change back into a mesh shirt and black jeans by local officials who were concerned about the “hypnotizing, potentially mind-altering effect of his protruding pectoral muscles” on women in attendance.
There are literally thousands of Elvis cover albums out, but Danzig plans to cover many of the lesser-known songs by the legendary crooner. “Everyone does “Suspicious Minds” and “Jailhouse Rock”. Glenn wanted to reflect a larger body of the King’s work,” said Danzig spokesman Larry Wainwright.
Danzig plans to re-record “It Ain’t My Fault”, a B-side of the single “Hound Dog”. That song was later popularized in the late 1990s by hip-hop legends Silkk The Shocker and Mystikal. He also has created a medley of “Whomp! There It Is!/Dayzee Dukes/C’mon ‘N Ride It (Da Train)”, recorded in 1974 on The King’s oft-forgotten “Shake Dat Thang, Heffa” album.
A rumor that Sunn O))), Slash and Linda Ronstadt would be joining him for a stirring rendition of “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” has been confirmed by several anonymous sources close to Danzig. A collaboration between Danzig, Cat Stevens, Doyle Von Frankenstein, Julie Andrews, Suffocation and Jimmie “JJ” Walker, star of the 1970’s television show “Good Times”, on the song “I Forgot To Remember To Forget” is also being considered.
Reports are sketchy on what other songs might be covered, but several websites have speculated that Elvis songs like “Breadfan”, “Stone Cold Crazy” and “Die Die My Darling” will be on the record.
(The author of this article, Dirty Dave on The FM, is a cult radio legend whose show “Dirty Dave on The FM”, was syndicated in over 50,000 markets including Borneo, Guyana and Ellenville. Years back, I heard his initial interview with the reclusive Ms. Cohn and became a die-hard fan of his show. Tyranny of Tradition gave Mr. FM a $200,000 advance to gain exclusive rights to this piece, so you better read it because I had a choice to pay him for an interview with the co-star of a mostly forgotten 80’s TV show or send my children to college…and I chose this)
The sun is setting as I steam south across the tenth southern parallel. Or, to be more accurate, putter across the tenth southern parallel, because the boat I’m on resembles little more than a bathtub with an outboard motor. I had hopped aboard after landing on the tiny island nation of Kiribati that morning. The skipper, who looked like he was suffering from a mild case of [insert gratuitous current event reference here!] Ebola, assured me he could get me to my destination before sundown for the low, low price of just 100 Kiribati dollars, whatever those are. Luckily, he also happily accepted Visa, American Express, and coconuts.
So, as I said, the sun was setting, and as I didn’t say, we were down to our last tank of fuel. Along with the sun, my hope of arriving at my destination before becoming a shark snack is sinking fast. That would be an unfortunate ending to a story—indeed a mission—that began over 20 years ago.
Back then, I worked as an on-air personality for a radio station in a backwater upstate New York town. I played music, read news, and interviewed musicians. I also did a variety show consisting of all manner of flimflam and it was during one particular episode of this program that my story begins.
Despite the fact that this radio show had no redeeming value, I was approached by an agent who represented one of the most celebrated entertainment icons of our time. Apparently, this celebrity was asked by the U.S. National Archives to submit a recorded interview for posterity. The celebrity, who had shunned and condemned the mainstream spotlight for the better part of a career, agreed to the request on the condition that the interview be conducted by someone as far removed from the conventional media establishment as possible. The person, I was told by the agent, would be an amateur, a relative nobody. That person, I was shocked to learn, was me.
I couldn’t say I was completely surprised. I mean, I was the person who once dedicated an entire hour-long show to the sound of myself eating a ham sandwich.
Anyway, I readily agreed to do the interview, which would be conducted live, and it was scheduled to air the following week. Somehow, word leaked out that this major celebrity who had managed to evade the press and paparazzi for years had agreed to be interviewed on our little radio station, and within a few days there were news crews from around the world camped out all over town. At the same time, our radio station started enjoying stratospheric ratings. We were placing in the top ten nationwide. There was even a pirate radio ship off the coast of Rhode Island retransmitting our broadcasts around the world via shortwave.
On the day of the interview, I was told that the celebrity would arrive surreptitiously at the radio station by way of a network of sewer tunnels that ran under the campus. At the appointed time, with thousands of clueless members of the mainstream media mobbing every public entrance to the building, I unceremoniously came face to face with one of the most admired, venerated, and respected stars of all time. I was looking into the gifted eyes of none other than Mindy Cohn.
There isn’t a soul alive who needs an introduction to the work of Mindy Cohn. Although best known for playing the role of Natalie Green on the hit NBC sitcom The Facts of Life from 1979 to 1988, Cohn has also won a legion of adoring fans for lending her voice to the character of Velma on Scooby Doo. And who could forget her poignant portrayal of Buddy’s alcoholic sister on Charles in Charge?
Needless to say, the interview was the highlight of my career in radio. It won numerous awards from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, placed runner-up in the Miss Serbia pageant, and was named the Short Line Railroad of the Year.
But then tragedy struck.
Before a recording of the interview could be copied and submitted to the National Archives, the original reel-to-reel tape from the studio was destroyed when the British burned Washington in 1814. Cohn claimed that her enemies were responsible, pledged never again to give another interview, and went into hiding. Although millions of listeners around the world likely recorded the interview off of the radio that night, no attempt was made to acquire any of those recordings because that would mess up the story I’m writing right now.
After the commotion died down and following my testimony at a House Select Committee hearing, I got on with my life and didn’t think much about the whole affair until recently. About two weeks ago, I received a coded message in my Lucky Charms that appeared to come from Mindy Cohn herself. She was getting older, the cipher said, and regretted not recording her story for future generations. Would I be interested in conducting another interview? No radio, no media attention, just a private meeting with a tape recorder. If I was interested, the precise latitude and longitude of her location could be found by playing Lyndon Johnson’s 1965 inaugural address backwards and listening closely at the 11-minute mark.
So here I am in the middle of nowhere. And as the coordinates on my handheld GPS inch closer to the supposed meeting place, I begin to perceive a speck of island on the horizon. Within minutes the island is close enough for me to make out some details. Volcanic. Barren. Except for the huge palace crowning the rocky crest. It’s the secluded home of Mindy Cohn.
Leaving Ebola guy with the boat, it’s dusk as I ring the doorbell under the portico of the enormous Greek Revival temple. You take the good, you take the bad… the chimes sound. As I wait, I admire the towering Doric columns that flank the front door. The craftsmanship is astounding.
It isn’t long before the large door opens and I’m greeted by the world’s most famous entertainer and the cause of so much speculation and conspiracy theory over the last 20 years.
“It’s good to see you again,” says Ms. Mindy Cohn. “Come on in.”
Inside the marble-lined foyer, I’m mesmerized by the riches I see everywhere I look. Everything is marble, mahogany, and the finest silks and there’s enough gilding to retire the entire national debt of Botswana. I’m assuming Botswana has a national debt but I don’t really know. Perhaps they are a very financially responsible people.
Anyway, Ms. Cohn leads me down the endless entrance hall and we turn left at a priceless Florentine Renaissance sculpture. “We’ll have our interview in the solarium. But first, I want to show you my collection.”
About halfway down the next hall we turn right and enter a large room lined wall-to-wall with shelves and display cases. “I’m a big American history buff,” says Ms. Cohn. “Especially presidential history. One of my passions is collecting items that once belonged to U.S. presidents. I call this my Hall of Presidents.”
On one wall are countless mementos and artifacts spanning nearly 250 years of American history. A medal once worn by General George Washington. A book belonging to James Madison. A bowtie owned by Millard Fillmore. A pair of eyeglasses used by Teddy Roosevelt.
Interesting, but I find myself drawn to the specimen jars on a far wall. What could they possible contain? And then I see. A hair sample from John Quincy Adams. Some fingernail clippings from James Buchanan. The large intestine of William Howard Taft. The brain of Jimmy Carter. Holy cow.
The solarium is quite pleasant with lots of sunlight and numerous palms and ferns and tropical plants. Arby’s: WE HAVE THE MEATS!!! Flittering around in the air are several rare species of butterfly. A Papilio arcturus lands on my shoulder. We waste no time getting down to the matter at hand and the reason I took a second mortgage out on my house to get here. The interview.
“So, is this all Facts of Life money?” I begin.
“No. Actually, it’s ER money,” says Ms. Cohn. “Most people don’t remember that George Clooney joined our cast in the later years. When he hit the big time with ER, he set up trust funds for all the Facts of Life kids. I’ve invested wisely.”
“So, tell me how it all began. How did The Facts of Life come about and how were you discovered?” I ask.
“Well, as most people know, The Facts of Life was a spin-off of Diff’rent Strokes. Charlotte Rae, who played the housekeeper on Diff’rent Strokes, was offered her own show and it was she herself who discovered me. At the time, I was working as a snake wrangler in the Mojave Desert and she offered me a job on the new show after I procured two gopher snakes and a sidewinder for her. I know that doesn’t really explain things, but let’s leave it at that.”
“I’m curious, Ms. Cohn. Do you keep in touch with the former Facts of Life cast members?” I inquire.
“Yes, I do. I speak to Nancy McKeon, Kim Fields, and the one who played Blair whose name I can never remember quite often. Even Molly Ringwald calls now and again. And Charlotte Rae flies in to visit me here occasionally.”
“She flies in? I don’t remember seeing a landing strip or a helicopter pad as we approached the island.”
“I mean, she literally flies in. She has wings,” explains Cohn.
“I see. Okay. Well, it must be nice to have such lifelong friends,” I remark.
“It is. We are all very fortunate. I mean, look at the cast of Diff’rent Strokes. I think Willis is the only one still alive.”
“I think you’re right,” I agree. “And, on the subject of Diff’rent Strokes, why did the producers of that show feel it was necessary to replace the letter “e” with an apostrophe? I mean, they weren’t saving any space in the opening credits or anything.”
“Yeah, I really have no idea,” says Cohn.
“Okay. Well, I thought I’d ask. Next question: What was up with Cloris Leachman joining the show. I mean, why?”
“Yeah, that wasn’t a good move. That decision didn’t play out well at all. I remember one time, Mackenzie Astin got lost in her spiky hair and we had to delay taping for a week.”
“That’s strange. And why did they replace the gourmet food shop with a bad imitation of the already horrid Spencer Gifts store?” I inquire.
“That happened around the time that George Clooney joined the cast. Let’s just say that the show had jumped the proverbial shark by that time. It was all about recapturing ratings,” she explains.
“What are a few of your favorite episodes from the show?” I wonder.
“Well, you know, it was a very socially responsible show. We tried to tackle issues that American kids were facing as they grew up in the eighties,” remembers Cohn. “We addressed issues like substance abuse, self-image, and physical disabilities. One of my favorite episodes was the one where Tootie begins to suffer from lycanthropy and starts devouring classmates every full moon. Kids in the eighties could really relate to those kinds of coming-of-age topics.”
“Yes, I remember that episode. That was one of my favorites, too. Another favorite was the one where Jo defends the shop from time-traveling, inter-dimensional lizard people from the year 7387. It was a very timely episode and it struck a chord with a lot of people.”
“Right! That was a very well-received episode,” recollects Cohn.
“Why did the Mets wear those awful camo uniforms this year? I mean, no disrespect to the military, but camouflage doesn’t belong on a baseball uni.”
“What do you know about the joint U.S. government-alien underground base in Dulce, New Mexico?”
“Why does my arm keep falling off?”
And so on and so forth.
“Ms. Cohn, I want to sincerely thank you for inviting me to re-conduct this interview with you,” I say. “The world will be overjoyed to hear it and it will be preserved at the National Archives for the ages.”
“Thank you for agreeing to my request and for traveling so far,” says Ms. Cohn. “I’m thrilled that my story—my legacy–will forever be known.”
“Ms. Cohn, before we conclude, may I make a request?” I ask timidly. “For reasons that will make sense to most of the people reading this story, I need to include a heavy metal reference. Will you do the honors?”
By the time I leave the island, it’s almost midnight. For some reason, Ebola guy didn’t bring any fuel for the return trip, and I think he died around nine o’clock anyway, so my host graciously arranged transportation to get me back to Kiribati. There’s a full moon rising on the eastern horizon as Charlotte Rae lifts off into the night sky with me strapped securely to her back.
About halfway to the airport, we crash into the Pacific Ocean and sink to our watery graves along with the one and only copy of the interview. Dammit.
As Americans come to terms with their current bout with media induced Ebola Fever, one parent is taking a stand against what she believes to be the culprit in the spread of this dreaded disease…the heavy metal band Van Halen. Eleanor Iselin, a concerned mother of two from Nacogdoches, Texas, has taken to the Internet and started a campaign to ban Van Halen’s music from radio stations in order to “save the lives of millions people who have been born and are not born or will never be born.”
Last week, Iselin was sitting in her living room listening to a news update when word of the virus hitting the United States came across the airwaves. Moments later, the very same station played “Drop Dead Legs” by Van Halen. The connection was obvious. God had spoken to her and her mission was clear.
According to Iselin, a three-pack-a-day cigarette smoker who was recently diagnosed with emphysema, the connection between Van Halen and Ebola should be clear “even the sheeple dumb enough to vaccinate their children for mumps”.
After minutes of research, Iselin was able to determine that the first known outbreak of Ebola took place not in Africa, as many people have claimed, but in Panama in the year 1984. She went on to speculate that the album has been extremely popular in places where the virus has hit the hardest.
“What do Texas, Sarah Leon and Libraria have in common? They have thousands of Van Halen fans! Duh!”
A well-placed source in the Van Halen camp confirmed to her that David Lee Roth left the band when he discovered that Ebolized copies of the early Van Halen albums were being distributed. Sammy Hagar, who several websites have speculated created botulism in 1973, was brought in to replace Roth in the hopes of causing agony and suffering for millions of Van Halen fans.
During the years Sammy Hagar was in the band, the virus spread to thousands of new victims, further corroborating Iselin’s argument. Roth was forced to return to the band, in spite of his moral objections, when he lost millions of dollars investing in risky business ventures like the Beefsteak Charlie restaurant chain and The Zubaz Pants Corporation.
Iselin is no stranger to health concerns. Her malnourished children have both recently developed goiters due to iodine deficiencies and rickets from a lack of Vitamin D while her husband Dan was recently was hospitalized after overdosing on hydrocodone prescribed to him in order to deal with the pain associated with his eleventh quadruple bypass surgery.
Yet in spite of the terrible maladies she and her family have suffered through, Eleanor Iselin has soldiered on in her crusade to eradicate what she believes to be the biggest public health threat to Americans today.
One day in the not-so-distant future, with the help of brave people like her, Van Halen Ebola may be a thing of the past.